ORONO – Earnest Edwards is hoping to parlay a historic career as a wide receiver and kick returner for the Black Bears in to a spot on an NFL roster.
Edwards established himself as one of the premier kick returners and wide receivers in FCS college football, but without much attention to his success beyond that level the chip on his shoulder grows larger as time passes, “they just keep adding weight to it honestly.”
Maine’s all-time kick return yardage leader has been working since his final game in a UMaine uniform to get in to NFL shape; training from Rochester to Broward County, bulking up while trying to maintain his trademark speed. “I’ve gained like 15-20 pounds but I feel good though, I weighed in at 190 today,” said Edwards.
At times, Edwards says it feels like there are factors working against him. In addition to having his pro day at UMaine canceled, Edwards says he was offered a spot in the Hula Bowl senior all-star game by the game’s CEO, but when pressed for details Edwards says the CEO stopped answering his correspondences. “He literally ghosted us, stopped answering our phone calls, stopped talking to us and that was literally a week before..so I literally missed everything,” said Edwards.
A missed opportunity is just fuel to fire for Edwards, whose return to his hometown of Rochester and his high school alma mater Aquinas Institute re-motivated him.
“If you’re a Rochester athlete they’re always going to show you love no matter who you are…when I walk in there, there’s always kids that know my name…I’m just happy honestly,” said Edwards.
At 5’10”, Edwards may be categorized as undersized for the typical NFL skill player, but he feels like all he needs is an opportunity to impress a front office with his on-field talent to achieve his goals, “I had a couple phone calls, couple teams called me so far, I’m just enjoying the process.”